The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The Tony Award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be flying into the area with performances starting on Friday, February 5 and continuing through Sunday, February 21 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Boulevard in La Mirada. The show became a Broadway success and has music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, and was conceived by Rebecca Feldman.

In the musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by gown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn't everything and that losing doesn't necessarily make you a loser.

This hilarious tale of overachievers' angst chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. The show's Tony Award-winning creative team has created the unlikeliest of hit musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes: A quirky yet charming case of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and it in at the same time.

The audience will also have a change to participate in this show. Before every performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, four audience volunteers are recruited to participate on-stage as guest spellers. Each new foursome guarantees a new set of hilarious and unexpected experiences-one night is just as unique as the one before it. The willing contestants are chosen through a careful vetting process, utilizing pre-show lobby interviews and audience questionnaires.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee started as a non-musical play entitled C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E, done be the improvisational group "The Farm." One of the performers in the play, Sarah Saltzberg, happened to be the nanny of the playwright Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles). Wasserstein was impressed by what she saw and suggested to a friend Willing Finn (Falsettos) that he may be able to take the show to the next level. Finn, his former student Rachel Sheinkin, and C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E creator Rebecca Feldman worked together to turn the piece into a full-length musical.

In the winter of 2004, Spelling Bee had a workshop at Barrington Stage Company in Sheffield Massachusetts. The following summer, the show had its first full production, in a cafeteria turned theatre.

From there, Spelling Bee moved to Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre, where it quickly sold out its original stay and was extended due to glowing reviews and powerful word of mouth. The show broke box office records at Second Stage and moved to Broadway's Circle in the Square on April 15, 2005 with an official opening on May 2nd. The show again received rave reviews and won two 2005 Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor.

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